HRCP alarmed over likely choice to head CII

Lahore, June 14, 2010: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed concern over the reported decision to appoint a conservative cleric to head the Council of Islamic Ideology.

A statement issued by HRCP on Monday said: “The reported decision to relieve the widely acclaimed scholar for rational interpretation of Islamic injunctions as chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and replace him with an office-bearer of a religious political party will cause widespread concern among the democratic sections of the people.

The reported decision, if true, deserves to be censured as it is too heavy a price to pay for the passage of the federal budget, or even the survival of the federal government. In the long run, neither economic planning, nor the status of the present government will escape the consequences.

Even though the status of the CII is now that of an advisory body after it has been superseded by the Federal Shariat Court, the Council’s decisions still carry a certain influence with devout Muslims, especially laypersons among them. That is all the more reason to demonstrate prudence while nominating the chairman and members of the body.

In addition to being religious scholars, the members, and indeed the chairman, of the CII should also be abreast of contemporary challenges.
HRCP is seriously concerned that such nominations would strengthen forces of obscurantism and strongly suggests that CII positions should not be given away as a reward for political services of dubious value.”

by: Asma Jahangir Chairperson

Dr. Ayyaz returns home

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan, missing in Dubai, has been released by his captors following the HRCP’s urgent appeal

Dr Ayyaz Ali Khan, a noted Pakistani dentist, who was missing in Dubai for a couple of weeks, has been released. Following the HRCP’s Urgent Appeal for his recovery. He arrived in Islamabad on 8th June 2010.

URGENT APPEAL HRCP

Dr. Ayyaz Ali, Missing in UAE

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan requests your urgent intervention in the following situation

Description of the situation:

HRCP has been informed by Mrs. Shirin Khan about the missing of her husband Dr. Ayyaz Ali, a Pakistani in UAE

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan is an eminent scholar and a leading academician of Pakistan with an international repute in the filed of dental and oral health. He is head of the Dental Department, Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore; Associate Dean Faculty of medicine & Dentistry University of the Punjab and Member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). He received the “ Research Publication Award 2009” by the National Health Research Council for over 96 national and international scientific publications. He has been the National Coordinator for Oral Health, WHO and is a HEC recognized supervisor for M/Phil/PhD. He is a dental scholar who has represented Pakistan on various international forums. He won two FDI Projects (International Dental Federation) in the region and has successfully completed them.

Due to his reputation he was asked to work as an adjunct Principal of Islamic International Dental College which is part of Riphah International University, Islamabad and also to provide the professional expertise for RAK College of Dental Science UAE ( A project of Riphah International University, Islamabad).His sole purpose of accepting this position was to extend and alleviate the name of Pakistan in the International Dental Education System and to get recognition of Pakistan Post graduate in UAE. . It is for this reason that he has been traveling frequently between Pakistan and Ras Al Khaimah, where he lives in an accommodation provided by the RAK College of Dental Science.

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan left Pakistan on 31st March 2010 for Ras-ul-Khaymah, UAE routinely to perform his professional duties for RAK College of Dental Sciences and he was in contact (cell phone) with his family till 4th April 2010. After that there has been no contact with the family and later it was revealed by a friend that he is missing since the early hours of 5th April 2010.

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan is a law abiding citizen and was not involved in any kind of politics.

Since April 4, 2010 he is missing and his whereabouts are not known.

It is apprehended that Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan has been taken into custody by UAE agencies.

He has been denied Counselor access.
There is great threat to his life.

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan is still detained at “unknown location” and has not been given access to Pakistani Consulate.

According to Dr Khan’s family, the UAE security forces told them that they had no record of his arrest or detention.

HRCP apprehends ‘torture and ill-treatment’ of the arrested person.

“HRCP fears the arrest and detention of the Dr. Ayyaz, in conditions amounting to forced disappearance puts him at a great risk of torture or other ill-treatment

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Pakistan/UAE urging them:

1. To disclose his whereabouts and the reason for his arrest.
2. To release the detainee immediately if he is not to be charged with a cognizable criminal offense.

3. To allow the family of the detainee to meet him.
4. He should be provided counsel access and medical care if required.

4. To protect him from torture and other ill-treatment while he is in detention.

5. To Pakistani authorities to immediately take up this matter with the government of UAE

Sample

We expressed our deep concern on the illegal detention of Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan, an eminent scholar and a leading academician of Pakistan with an international repute in the field of dental and oral health, kept in illegal detention at UAE since 4 April 2010.

We demand that he is not tortured.
We urge that he is dealt with according to law and provided counselor access
We urge you that if there is no case against him he should be immediately released.
We urge you to provide him all kind of medical facilities.
We demand that his family should be allowed to meet him.

It would be appreciated if you send a copy of your letter to HRCP/Urgent Appeal (Zaman Khan)

Address:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835
E-mail: (please see: http://www.presiden tofpakistan. gov.pk/WTPreside ntMessage. aspx)

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
E-mail: secretary@cabinet. gov.pk

Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Minister of Foreign Affair
Government of Pakistan
Islamabad

3. Mr. Rehman Malik
Minister for Interior
R Block Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
E-mail: ministry.interior@ gmail.com or interior.complaintc ell@gmail. com

Excellency
Amir
United Arab Emirates
UAE

His Excellency Ali Saif Sultan Al-Awani,
The Ambassador of UAE,
Embassy of UAE
Diplomatic Enclave,
Plot No. 122, Sector G-5,
Islamabad
Phone. 92-51-2099999
Fax.. 92-51-2206732

Millions suffer in ‘human rights free zone’ in northwest Pakistan – Amnesty International

Millions of Pakistanis in the northwest tribal areas live in a human rights free zone where they have no legal protection by the government and are subject to abuses by the Taleban

Millions of Pakistanis in the northwest tribal areas live in a human rights free zone where they have no legal protection by the government and are subject to abuses by the Taleban, Amnesty International said in a major report released on Thursday.

“Nearly 4 million people are effectively living under the Taleban in northwest Pakistan without rule of law and effectively abandoned by the Pakistani government,” said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General.

The 130-page report, ‘As if Hell Fell on Me': The Human Rights Crisis in Northwest Pakistan, is based on nearly 300 interviews with residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and adjacent areas of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). The report gives voice to those whose experiences are rarely reported and reveals the abuses faced by the region’s residents.

“There are still more than 1 million people who were displaced from their homes in Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt by the conflict with the Taleban whose plight is largely ignored and are in desperate need of aid,” said Claudio Cordone.

Amnesty International’s review of available information also suggests that at least 1,300 civilians were killed in the fighting in northwest Pakistan in 2009, from a total of more than 8,500 casualties (including combatants).

The report documents the systematic abuses carried out by the Taleban as they established their rule by killing those who challenge their authority, such as tribal elders and government officials.

They imposed their rule through torture and other ill-treatment, targeting teachers, aid workers and political activists. The Taleban have particularly targeted women and schools and health clinics catering to their needs.

Amnesty International was told of Taleban insurgents blocking roads to prevent civilians from escaping as villages fell under heavy bombardment by government forces. The insurgents also increased the likelihood of civilian causalities by dispersing themselves among civilians and in and around schools.

Successive Pakistani governments have treated the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan with disdain, ignoring the rights of the area’s residents, particular in FATA.

Over the past decade, Pakistan’s government has veered from appeasing the Pakistani Taleban through a series of failed “peace deals” to launching heavy handed military operations that include indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.

The USA’s use of drones to target insurgents in northwest Pakistan has generated considerable resentment inside Pakistan. Amnesty International has called on the USA to clarify its chain of command and rules of engagement for the use of drones and ensure proper accountability for civilian casualties.

Many displaced residents of the area told Amnesty International that they had suffered under the Taleban and felt abandoned by the Pakistani government. In the words of one teacher who fled Swat with his family in March 2009:

The government just gave away our lives to the Taleban. What’s the point of having this huge army if it can’t even protect us against a group of brutal fanatics? They took over my school and started to teach children about how to fight in Afghanistan. They kicked out the girls from school, told the men to grow their beards, threatened anybody they didn’t like. Our government and our military never tried to protect us from this.

The residents of FATA continue to be governed by a colonial-era law, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) of 1901, which denies basic constitutional rights and protections for the residents of FATA, including their rights to political representation, judicial appeal, and freedom from collective punishment.

“For years, FATA has been treated as a stage for geopolitical rivalries and is currently in focus because of the conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan and the search for al-Qa’ida, rather than the rights of the people living there,” said Claudio Cordone. “The Pakistani government should not just respond using military force; it needs to provide and protect the basic rights of its citizens living there.”

The FCR gives a government-appointed Political Agent ultimate judicial and executive authority, including the ability to carry out communal punishment, including formal detention, by holding all members of a tribe potentially responsible for alleged infractions committed by any tribe member.

The Constitution of Pakistan of 1973 explicitly excludes FATA from the legal, judicial and parliamentary system of Pakistan, including barring residents from full representation in parliament and from bringing appeals to a higher court outside the territory.

The government of Pakistan has recently promised to reform the FCR but this has not yet happened.

“The Pakistani government has to follow through on its promises to bring the region out of this human rights black hole and place the people of FATA under the protection of the law and constitution of Pakistan,” said Claudio Cordone. “There is no quick fix for decades of misrule and the conflict of the past few years, but the road to recovery starts with recognizing the rights of the people of FATA.”

Amnesty International urges both the Pakistani government and the Taleban to comply with international humanitarian law by taking all measures to prevent loss of civilian life and buildings including hospitals and schools and allowing unfettered NGO access to provide food, shelter and medical supplies to the injured and displaced.

For more detail click here.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/millions-suffer-human-rights-free-zone-northwest-pakistan-2010-06-10